Today’s Solutions: May 30, 2023

As the old saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and this is the driving philosophy behind the companies upcycling food waste into new products. The Upcycled Food Association (UFA) defined upcycled food products as those which “use ingredients that otherwise would not have gone to human consumption, are procured and produced using verifiable supply chains and have a positive impact on the environment.” Here are 12 companies around the world finding value in food waste. 

  1.  Aqua Botanical. This Australia-based company takes byproduct water from fruit juice production, extracts it, filters it, and mineralizes it to create drinking water and combat water scarcity.
  2.  Kromkommer. This company launched its Wonky Veggie Soup line in 2014 made from produce that would otherwise head to the landfill. They also operate their Wonky Vegetable and Fruit store in their home city of Utrecht.
  3.  Matriark Foods. This company collects surplus produce from farms around the US and turns it into soup and sauce bases. Furthermore, it provides sustainable products to help serve schools, hospitals, and food banks.
  4. NETZRO. We’ve talked about this upcycling company before on the Optimist Daily. To learn more about how they’re turning spent beer grain into flour, read our recent article. 
  5.  Pure Plus. If you have a sweet tooth, this company is for you! They turn imperfect fruits and vegetables into a powdered sugar substitute. You can try their sweet treats by buying their most recent product, Faves Candy.
  6.  RISE + WIN Brewing Co. This Japan-based company is upcycled from top to bottom with beer brewed with citrus peels, returnable bottles, and granola and sweets made from its spent grain. They even make their uniforms out of recycled clothing.
  7. Rubies in the Rubble. This company makes condiments from food scraps and has saved over 298,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables since its founding in 2012. 
  8. Sweet Benin. Only 10 percent of the 127,005,864 kilograms of cashew apples grown in Benin are processed every year, so this company is rescuing them for cashew apple juice and helping farmers supplement their off-season income.
  9.  Toast Ale. This brewery replaces one-third of the malted barley used in its beer brewing process with surplus bread. 
  10.  Treasure8. This company diverts food waste from landfills to create nutrient-rich food products and ingredients and reduce food insecurity.
  11. Upcycled Grain Project. This company uses spent grain to create health-focused snack foods
  12.  Wize Monkey. Last but not least, this company uses leaves of the arabica coffee plant, which are often tossed away, to make tea. 

If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the world. These ingenious companies are turning waste into wealth and helping the planet while they’re at it!

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